2002 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Smith
AN ACT TO CODIFY SECTION 9-9-18, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CREATE AN ADDITIONAL COUNTY JUDGESHIP FOR RANKIN COUNTY; TO AMEND SECTION 9-9-5, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO CONFORM; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. The following shall be codified as Section 9-9-18, Mississippi Code of 1972:
9-9-18. (1) In order to relieve the crowded condition of the docket in the county court and in the youth court of Rankin County and particularly to facilitate and make possible the trial and disposition of the large number of causes on said docket and in the youth court, there shall be two (2) county judges for Rankin County, provided for and elected as herein set out.
(2) For purposes of appointment, nomination and election, the two (2) judgeships shall be separate and distinct, to be denominated for purposes of appointment, nomination and election only as Place One and Place Two. There shall be no distinction whatsoever in the powers, duties and emoluments of the two (2) offices of county judge, except that the county judge of Rankin County who has been for the longest time continuously a county judge of said county, shall have the right to assign causes, terms and dockets. Should neither judge have served longer in office than the other, then the judge of the county court of Rankin County who has been for the longest time a member of The Mississippi Bar shall have the right to assign causes, terms and dockets.
(3) While there shall be no limitation whatsoever upon the powers and duties of the said county judges other than as cast upon them by the Constitution and laws of this state, the county court in Rankin County, in the discretion of the county judge who has been for the longest time continuously a judge of said court, may be divided into civil, criminal and youth court divisions as a matter of convenience by the entry of an order upon the minutes of the court.
(4) The additional judgeship created by this section, or Place Two, shall be filled by a person elected in the regular election of November 2002, and all candidates therefor shall qualify not later than sixty (60) days prior to that election. The person elected in that election shall begin the term of office at the same time as county judges generally, and the office shall not otherwise exist.
SECTION 2. Section 9-9-5, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
9-9-5. (1) The county judge shall possess all of the qualifications of a circuit judge as prescribed by the Mississippi Constitution. In the event of the establishment of a county court by agreement between two (2) or more counties as provided in Section 9-9-3, the judge of said court may be a qualified elector of any one (1) of said counties, and shall have such other qualifications as provided for by law. The county judge shall be elected by the qualified electors of his county at the time and in the manner as circuit judges are elected, unless a different time or manner of qualification or election is specifically provided by law, and he shall hold office for the same term. Vacancies in the office of county judge shall be filled in the * * * manner provided by law for county officers.
(2) Provided, however, that in any county having a total population in excess of eleven thousand (11,000) according to the 1970 federal decennial census and a total assessed valuation of real and personal property of not less than Sixteen Million Dollars ($16,000,000.00) and not more than Seventeen Million Dollars ($17,000,000.00) and in which Mississippi Highway 4 and United States Highway 61 intersect, in which there is a vacancy in the post of county judge resulting from the failure of a candidate to qualify for that post, the board of supervisors of such county may, upon certification of such vacancy to the board, appoint a county judge to serve out the term so vacated who shall be a licensed attorney from such county or an adjoining county. The compensation of such attorney shall be the same he would have otherwise received if elected.
(3) In the event that any county wherein is located a state hospital and wherein U.S. Highway 80 and Mississippi Highway 43 intersect shall establish a county court, the county judge of such county shall be elected at the general election to be held on Tuesday after the first Monday of November 1982, after qualifying therefor as provided by law. Provided, however, that the board of supervisors of such county may appoint a county judge who shall be a licensed attorney from such county until the office of county judge shall be filled pursuant to said election.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2002.